Corporate social responsibility becomes a more common concept in the industry. We, Plastikor, prefer to talk about sustainable businesses. This, because sustainable businesses focus more on their own company, employees and their own impact on the environment.
To become a sustainable business, we follow the three P’s policy: People, Planet, Profit.
Our company prioritizes a better environment. Whatever decision we make for any activity, we will always take our influences on the environment and the well-being of our employees into consideration when making a final decision. With our current three P’s policy, we are going further than only abiding by the general rules and laws. Our focus is based on the long term. Being a sustainable business results in being assured of loyal knowledgeable employees who are motivated to work together in our company. All our employees enjoy healthy workplaces, flexibility in working hours and physical health. Next to a good inner environment for employees, we value the outer environment too. We make sure that we depend less and less on fossil fuels. The need for fossil fuels are as far as possible replaced by green energy and by generating energy through solar panels.
Our key-words are: durability, saving energy, reuse and waste management Note. Being a sustainable business does not stop at our front door. We have set the same expectations for all our suppliers. That’s why we choose for FSC carton and we choose plastics that are eco-friendly produced.
Our company is equipped with well-advanced machines, which make highly advanced techniques possible. Due to these machines we are able to work eco-friendly and economical efficient. For instance, we could use the eco-friendly material polypropylene.
The plastic polypropylene is an important raw material for producing ring binders and covers.
Polypropylene is manufactured out of the monomer propylene. Converting the monomer propylene into the polymer polypropylene is eco-friendly. During this reaction, not any harmful, polluting or toxic gas will be released in the environment. That’s why polypropylene is considered to be an eco-friendly choice by manufacturing ring binders, covers and other plastic products. Even during the recycling process, the raw material polypropylene is a great choice, since polypropylene does not release any poisonous gasses in the incinerator.
Properties of polypropylene (ring binders and covers)
The structure of polypropylene consists entirely of pure hydrocarbons. Which means, it consists of carbons (atom: C) and hydrogens (atom: H)
This is the structure formula of polypropylene. Herein the double bond (would be two stripes next to each other) between the CH and CH2 will split into a single bond (one stripe). The polymer polypropylene consists of a chain wherein the unit between the brackets will be repeated continuously. The ‘n’ outside the brackets explains how many times the unit is repeated in one polymer, it is an indicator of how long the polymer is.
Polypropylene contains similar atoms as natural gas. As a result, complete combustion of polypropylene only releases harmless gasses, such as water (H2O) and carbon dioxide (CO2). During the conversion of propylene to polypropylene not any dangerous or harmful gasses, such as carcinogenic, heavy metals, flammable and toxic substances, persistent, bio accumulating toxic (PBT) substances, endocrine disrupting substances, pesticides or radioactive substances are created.
The material polypropylene is suitable in temperatures between minus 5 to plus 70 °C. Which means that polypropylene is resistant to the current natural fluctuations and environment.
Another advantage of polypropylene is that its density is lower than water. The density of polypropylene is 0.946 g/cm3, while the density of water is 0.997 g/cm3. The advantage of polypropylene’s lower density results in the ability to float on water, whereby it becomes easy to separate polypropylene and get it out of the environment.
Polypropylene is the most eco-friendly plastic!
Polypropylene does not degrade in nature.
Polypropylene is 100% recyclable.
Polypropylene is washable.
Polypropylene is copy safe. This means, printed letters and logos do not stick at other plastics such as covers.
Advantages for graphic companies when using polypropylene:
Cold to shiver and cut.
Resistant to moisture, chemicals (excl. xylene and toluene), acids and oils.
Corona treated, allowing to print and to film.
Antistatic treatment for graphic applications.
PVC is one of the most successful modern plastics.
This is the structural formula of PVC.
PVC is widely used in our daily life and has a prominent role in the enhancement of healthiness, security and safety. Little of plastics have been studied as profoundly as PVC. The complete process from manufacturing to the recycling of PVC was profoundly studied related to its impact on the environment. Thanks to all these advantages, PVC became and currently is one of the biggest plastics and the demand for PVC keeps rising.
Plastikor processes PVC foil over 42 years in ring binders and covers. Based on scientific and practical findings it can be concluded that PVC is a solid and robust material. With this material, we are assured of durable products. A ring binder or cover of PVC has a lifetime between 10 to 15 years!
PVC is even more eco-friendly than ever! The raw materials of PVC are ethylene (43%) and the salt NaCl (57%). Due to the salts, the manufacturing of PVC needs fewer fossil fuels than other plastics. In a time of great scarcity, this definitely is a pro!
Manufacturing PVC contains three different reactions. When summarizing these reactions into an overall reaction, the following reaction occurs.
Even though salts are required when producing PVC, none of these salts will be released in the environment. Next to its main product vinyl chloride (monomer of PVC), the harmless side product water exists.
Due to profound research in PVC, the plasticizer is improved; the harmful component phthalate is removed out of PVC. This results in PVC products being child prove too! Lastly, Plastikor meets the European guidelines of REACH with all his PVC products. This means that no additives in PVC contain harmful components such as described in the REACH guideline.
Whether you enjoy products made of PVC or PP, both materials have a beautiful appearance and meet the same quality norm.
We, Plastikor, believe it’s important to give our customers eco-friendly choices. Therefore, customers are able to choose between the eco-friendly materials: PVC or PP.
Being progressive in working eco-friendly, sustainable and using less material as possible, we took (next to our material use) a closer look at our waste stream.
With our well-respected experience of 42 years, we didn’t have a bad performance in relation to saving the environment. Nevertheless, we will not look away, we are striving for improvement and perfection.
Reducing production waste
Our first goal was, again, to reduce production waste even further. The reduction of production waste lowered a tiny bit. The small reduction was caused by having already an optimal production waste management. For instance, we use rolls of foil with 35 varying standard widths and standard thicknesses. This results in having a suitable foil roll for any binder with a certain size, which reduces the amount of production waste.
Recycling bins and transport
Our second goal was to replace our smaller bin for plastic waste by a larger one. By having a larger storage of plastic waste, the recycling company is able to drive less often and still gets all our waste. This change results in a decrease of the need for fossil fuels and results in less pollution by driving back and forth from Plastikor to the recycling company.
Next to a larger bin for plastic waste, we took special care in separating many kinds of recyclable materials. Now, we have additional internal bins for hard and soft polypropylene, PVC, other, carton and paper and lastly separate bins for packaging materials. Because we store all our materials accurately, 100% recycling is indubitably possible!
The recycling of PVC and PP
Recycling of PVC and PP is not difficult. In the context of ‘good housekeeping’ production surpluses of these materials have been recycled for many years now. This recyclable material has numerous applications. You could think of windows, floor and roofing material pipes, but you can also think of benches for in the park.
Products whereby recycling with the current technology are not economical realistic yet, will undergo energy recovery. Energy recovery is a way to burn down materials wherein the released heat, electricity and light will be used in homes, schools or even hospitals.
Plastikor and the protection of the environment.
Plastikor has been anticipating since 2014 to prevent/reduce today's environmental problems. Our starting point was already saving on energy and care for a cleaner world. To protect the environment, we prepared an action plan in 2014. The target date of the complete plan was mid-2020.
Objectives of the action plan in 2014
Reduce electricity and gas consumption.
Use of alternative plastic materials.
Reuse plastics and use recyclable plastics.
Finally, the plastics must be suitable for long-term and sustainable use.
Implementation of action plan 2014
To immediately start with the plan of action, we went for the first instantly in 2014. The first step was the modernization of our machines in Plastikor. The machines were modernized from the inside and, if necessary, fitted with new parts. In addition, operating systems were adapted and linked to the network to guarantee economically and environmentally efficient production. All machines were also fitted with removal robots, whereby energy efficiency the main priority is. The machines for the ring binders were all provided with robot inserts for cardboard and foil. Finally, smart meters were installed in the machines with the operating system to record the power consumption per machine and per product.
The first step was successfully completed at the end of 2017! The conversion of all machines was completed, whereafter the plan of action was evaluated. This also included: what steps and actions are needed to become CO2 neutral while manufacturing products.
During our evaluation, we were able to confirm with our smart meters that our power consumption of the machines decreased! This was due, for example, to the fact that we had adjusted the heating elements of the machines so that we needed less power with an equal amount of production. In addition, extra attention has been paid to not let machines running all day after a production process was already finished. If the operator does not immediately switch off the machine after production, an automatic switch-off of the machine will follow within 15 minutes. The remote planning can also switch off the machine. When a machine is switched off, the compressed air supply to these machines is also immediately switched off. This saves energy too!
In addition to optimizing the machines, consideration was given for optimizing the working environment. For example, the production hall, warehouse and offices were fitted with LED lighting, switched by sensors. In addition, the aisles in the warehouse were equipped with motion detectors. As a result of the LED lighting with motion detectors, a consumer reduction of 55% was achieved!
In addition to LED lightning, a more natural way to heat the working environment was introduced. Our variable pressure regulated compressors now provide the production hall with warm air. Extra heating is currently only necessary if the outside temperature is below -2 degrees of Celsius. Our production hall also needs no air conditioning. Cooling in the summer months is carried out by tactically arranged water cooling fans.
After all the adjustments were finished, the current power consumption is known with an addition and countdown sum!
The energy consumption was decreased by 22% in 2018 compared to 2014, despite an increased annual turnover with more production.
2019 was the year for the installation of 4,000 m2 of solar panels. Plastikor now even produces more than CO2 neutral! Of course, we will keep on continuing to improve and innovate. Hereby, the importance of saving on electricity and gas consumption will continue to be our paramount.
With Plastikor’s excess in electricity capacity, we have ensured ourselves that the redundant energy is immediately supplied back to the electricity grid so that other households can benefit from our solar energy too.
Plastikor participates in industry 4.0
Industry 4.0 has reached Plastikor too!
During the modernization of Plastikor, all the machines were monitored. For example, from now on, all fully automatic machines can be checked remotely from the planning, shutdown in the event of malfunctions, during control or shutdown.
Next to the modernization of the machines, a new technology developed by us makes it possible to process other materials such as polypropylene and polyethylene too. This is not only possible for large quantities of products, but also for purchases of around 5000 copies and sometimes even smaller units.
We go for faster processing and production processes. All our machines are up-to-date, ready for the present and the future!
So, our position is: energy-efficient production comes first, together with the solar panels we are more than CO2 neutral.